Honduras, a country long ruled by wealthy right-wing elites, may soon experience a shift to the left.
Last Sunday, Honduran television star Salvador Nasralla was selected as the presidential candidate for the country’s leftist opposition coalition ahead of November’s election.
Nasralla, representing the Anti-Corruption Party, PAC, is joined by Xiomara Castro as his running mate. Castro, leader of the Liberty and Refoundation Party, LIBRE, is the wife of former Honduran President Manuel Zelaya, who was ousted in a U.S.-backed military coup in 2009.
Although Nasralla and his PAC constituents consider themselves “centrists,” they have decided to join forces with the democratic socialist LIBRE and the social democratic Innovation and Unity Party, PINU. The alliance of centrist and leftist parties is intent on achieving one goal: defeating right-wing President Juan Orlando Hernandez, who is running for re-election with the conservative National Party, PNH.
“The right wing is finished,” Honduran activist Lucy Pagoada-Quesada told teleSUR during a recent interview.
“This is the first time opposition parties are coming together to create a national front against the right-wing dictatorship. We’ve never seen anything like this before. This is history in the making.”
Born in Honduras, Pagoada-Quesada is a public school teacher based in New York City who organizes Honduran immigrants living in the U.S. and Canada. She attended the National Assembly for the Opposition Alliance, the electoral conference held by the three opposition parties on Sunday, representing LIBRE members living outside of Honduras.
Pagoada-Quesada raised the policy demands of Honduran emigres and worked alongside PAC and PINU representatives to incorporate them into the opposition coalition’s platform. A longtime friend of Nasralla, Castro and Zelaya, she said that all three leaders are working together to change Honduras for the better.
“Their main concerns are to get rid of corruption, eliminate poverty and create free public social services like healthcare and education,” Pagoada-Quesada said.
“They’re calling for changing the system that has kept Honduras back for so long.”
According to Pagoada-Quesada, the central demand of the opposition alliance is to call for a constituent assembly that would allow broad sectors of Honduran society to rewrite the country’s constitution. This is the same demand that Zelaya raised before he was forcibly removed from power almost eight years ago.
The constituent assembly proposed by the opposition alliance calls for the participation of Black, Indigenous, LGBTQ and working class communities in an effort to improve their standards of living. It also calls for the participation of Honduran emigres in order to address the problems that lead to thousands of people leaving the country every year, such as crime, poverty and corruption.
The opposition alliance is also demanding an end to U.S. militarization in Honduras, which Hernandez and the PNH has advanced throughout his time in office.
Although Pagoada-Quesada voted for Castro as the presidential candidate of the opposition alliance, she said she is confident Nasralla will advance the collective interests of Hondurans and defeat the right-wing coup government that has ruled for eight years.
“Salvador Nasralla is very popular among Honduran people,” Pagoada-Quesada said.
“He has no connections to the corrupt government in Honduras. He is trustworthy and well liked. He wants to do good for the people and he has a good team of advisers that will lead him into becoming a strong leader.”
Since the 2009 U.S.-backed military coup that removed Zelaya from power, government corruption, along with mass violence and repression against opposition activists, has become commonplace.
The 2016 assassination of environmental activist Berta Caceres exemplified Honduras’ turn toward violence. Hundreds of other environmental, Black, Indigenous, LGBTQ and socialist activists have been brutally murdered under the PNH administration.